A Canuck puts his bigfoot down on myth

The Kentucky Kernel. 29th March 2011

By Nick Craddock

Hold onto your beef jerky. We’re about to start messin’ with Sasquatch.

There’s been a lot of nonsense to come out of Canada (this column falls into that category), but the legend of Bigfoot, also known as the Sasquatch and said to reside in the Rocky Mountains of western Canada, takes the nonsensical cake — a cake which calls for a lot of lies in the recipe. Two eggs, not one.

According to an MSNBC story last week , a Shelby, N.C., man emailed WCNC NewsChannel 36 in Charlotte saying that he had captured video of Bigfoot running across a road into the woods.
The man was quoted as saying “it smelled like a cross between roadkill and a skunk,” which is an absolutely groundbreaking detail to know about a creature that doesn’t exist.

In fact, that is such an incredibly specific description of an odor, which not many people could readily identify with one flare of the nostrils. The only people who can detect such a scent in a five-second span are generally the same people who have claimed to see Bigfoot, devote their lives to proving Bigfoot’s existence or have an obsession with men with an ungodly amount of chest hair.

The man also offered insight into what he believed was Sasquatch growling or snarling at him (or perhaps it was the collective sigh of humanity?) while he shot his video.
If a snarl and a smell don’t finally put an end to the longstanding Bigfoot debate — is it a bipedal humanoid or a husky man in an ape suit?—then what can? People are convicted of felonies in this country on less evidence.

In my experience, ape suits (and therefore, by logic, husky men) are much more common than bipedal humanoids, so I’m still calling shenanigans on Sasquatch.
But on the off chance that I’m wrong, I’ll assume that Bigfoot does exist for a moment, which then begs the question: What was the mythical creature doing in the foothills of Charlotte so far away from its presumed home in the Rockies?

That would be like the Loch Ness Monster being spotted in the community swimming pool, the Abominable Snowman sipping on a pina colada in the tropics or Justin Bieber straying from his cage at Usher’s house for extended periods of time.

The point is that legends have established natural habitats.

And Sasquatch is Canada’s nonsense to protect. There’s no other explanation for this supposed sighting.

Bigfoot certainly wasn’t on vacation in North Carolina. Who wants to take a trip to visit Charlotte’s Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden?
Please, don’t mess with Sasquatch’s home now. He (she?) is already stressed enough as it is because you keep hogging all the Jack Links Beef Jerky.

Note: Jack Links provided no compensation to this columnist for the promotion of their phenomenal assortment of jerky products. And no Sasquatches were messed with during the writing of this column.

Bigfoot film-maker sues New Hampshire over free speech

www.bbc.co.uk

An amateur film-maker who dressed as the mythical Bigfoot creature is suing the state of New Hampshire after park rangers told him to leave a mountain where he had been engaging with hikers.

Jonathan Doyle’s friends had been filming him on Mount Monadnock.

He argues the state’s requirement that he pay for a permit and get a $2m (£1.2m) insurance bond before he can film violates his free speech rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is backing Mr Doyle’s lawsuit.

“The underlying activities are humorous, but the principle’s important,” Jon Meyer, a lawyer representing Mr Doyle, told the Associated Press (AP) news agency.

He added: “We don’t believe there’s any legitimate government role in regulation.”

New Hampshire state officials have not commented on the case.

‘Socially engaging’

Mr Doyle said no complaints had been made to the state park service in 2009 when he first dressed as Bigfoot, traversed Mount Monadnock, then took off his costume and interviewed bystanders about what they had seen.

“People loved it. It was socially engaging,” the 30-year-old told AP.

But when Mr Doyle announced he would head back to the mountain on 19 September last year, Monadnock park manager Patrick Hummel brought it to the attention of his supervisor in an e-mail entitled “Bigfoot problem on Monadnock… not kidding”.

Mr Hummel then intercepted Mr Doyle during his next outing, barring the film-maker and his friends from filming and requiring them to obtain a permit.

“Jonathan Doyle started this thing with nothing but good humour and intentions,” said Barbara Keshen, a lawyer for the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. “But it does have serious overtones.”

Both Ms Keshen and the state of New Hampshire filed motions in court on Tuesday.

Mr Doyle is seeking attorneys’ fees, nominal damages and to be given the opportunity to film on the mountain without obtaining a permit.

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a humanoid creature said to wander the wooded wilds of the Pacific Northwest.

‘The smoking gun’: Gasquet Hair Samples Still Being Analyzed

Written by Anthony Skeens, The Crescent City, California, Triplicate, February 18, 2011.

Kirk Stewart, the owner of a residence on French Hill Road, is still waiting on detailed analysis of hair samples he collected after a night three years ago when he thinks Bigfoot broke through a wire fence, plucked about seven of his peacocks and then made off with them.

The next morning, Stewart said he found a trampled fence and a piece of his peacock pen peeled off. He also noticed feathers on the ground and on a tree limb about 7 feet high.

“I was thinking it was a bear, up until I had seen how it opened the pen,” said Stewart.

As he assessed the damage, Stewart said he happened upon a clump of about 16 hairs attached to one of the barbs on his fence. They were about 7 inches long with a fine texture and a slight curl.

“The hairs are the smoking gun,” he said.

Stewart sent them to the North America Bigfoot Search. A preliminary analysis determined them to be from a primate, according to a book by the organization’s director.

A more detailed analysis is expected within six months, it said.

‘One of the hottest places’
NABS claims to use scientific methods to investigate possible incidents involving Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, a purportedly ape-like creature whose existence is discounted by a majority of scientists.

NABS was created about six years ago by a group of private donors who wanted to find answers to their childhood curiosities about whether Bigfoot exists, said David Paulides, director of the organization based in Los Gatos, Calif.

It has collected dozens of hair samples from around the country to genetically analyze them. Along with Stewart’s samples, NABS has received hair samples from Hoopa, northern Humboldt County near Bluff Creek, and Oregon.

“(Del Norte) has to be one of the hottest places in the world” for Bigfoot reports, said Paulides in a telephone interview with The Triplicate.

He’s especially interested in Stewart’s property, where the resident said several other things have happened that seem Bigfoot-related.

“I’ve been at his property several times,” said Paulides. “ What’s going on there is very strange.”

In 2007, Stewart was throwing a birthday party for his son, when he heard a loud yell coming from near his melon patch.

When Stewart later went to the patch, he said he found a line of about 50 melons that had been pried open, he said.

There were circular holes in the melons with fingernail indentations, he said, adding there was also a big indentation in one of the large tires that housed the melons.

Perhaps Bigfoot used it as a resting place while gorging on melons, Stewart speculated.

“If I ever had him over for dinner, I’d cook peacocks and cut honeydew melons,” joked Stewart as he walked around his property recently.

“I believe it’s what they call a Bigfoot,” he said. “It’s not some long-haired hippie running around.”

Stewart said he has yet to sign a contract with NABS releasing his rights to the hair samples.

He said he makes his living farming his property. He also has a lawsuit pending against Del Norte County seeking the cash value of marijuana plants confiscated from his land even though he had a valid medical marijuana caregiver license.

The drug-related charges against Stewart were dismissed, but he’s currently on probation for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

‘In reality there’s thousands (of Bigfoots)’
Before it started collecting hair samples, NABS set out to gather anecdotal evidence from people who claimed to have encountered Bigfoot.

Through commonalities in the evidence gathered, Paulides said he was able to profile behavioral attributes of the creature.

“We named food sources,” said Paulides. “Bigfoot eats mushrooms. That’s a food source people didn’t really think about. Also, there’s a series of green shrubs and ferns and water plants.”

NABS has also hypothesized Bigfoot is not going to be far from water.

After gathering anecdotal information, NABS had a forensic artist draw sketches of Bigfoot that people who claimed to have seen it described.

The facial features of Bigfoot are more humanlike than previously suggested and its hair color runs the color spectrum similar to human hair, said Paulides.

“We flew right into the face of old-time researchers,” he said.

Paulides included anecdotal evidence and the forensic sketches in his book, “Tribal Bigfoot.”

Stewart was featured in the book, as were several other people from Del Norte and Humboldt counties.

While the book released in 2009 was being written, NABS was in the beginning stages of hair sample analysis.

A letter about a preliminary laboratory analysis of Stewart’s sample was published in the book.

The letter states that an expert examined the hair and found it to be from an animal of primate origin.

Since then, dozens more hair samples have been submitted for evaluation, and NABS hopes to have results soon, Paulides said.

The research has taken longer than expected due to the complexity of genetically tracing the hairs, Paulides said.

“That’s probably one of the reasons no one has tried to jump through the hurdles that we’re jumping through,” said Paulides. “It’s much more complicated than anyone thought.”

Paulides anticipates having the analysis completed within the next six months.

The work will be published in a report written by a group of scientists who will scrutinize the findings, Paulides said.

“I think if you have any scientific acumen to you and you’re an educated person then it’s hard to ignore science,” said Paulides. “In reality there’s thousands of (Bigfoots). They’re much more common than anyone realizes.”

“The forrest floor is so efficient at disposing of things,” said Paulides, adding that he’s spent thousands of hours in the woods, but has never seen a fully intact skeleton of a mountain lion.

“If we can prove theres a primate out there that’s bipedal and it has been ignored by science for eternity and we can now show it exists,” said Paulides, “I don’t care what kind of evolutionary belief system you have, I believe that will alter the course of science.”

A Brief bout of Insanity! The Construction of my Home Cinema

It was November last year when I was suddenly overcome by a great surge of insanity. The result of this temporary turn of events was that I decided to convert my Garage in to a Home Cinema. But in my mind this was not going to be a standard home cinema. The plan was to mimick the look and feel of an actual cinema, but on a much smaller scale of course.

 I had decided on a seven foot screen, a full 1080P high definition cinema projector and a 5.1 suround sound experience, all running through a Denon AV receiver. The seating would be 2 tier so that the rear seats would be higher than the front seats and all the various Audio Visual devices would be controlled by a Harmony 1000 remote control, including the lighting. So, once programmed, with the press of a single button, the AV equipment will switch on and just as the film is about to start, the light will automatically dim and switch off.

The Cinema will need to be thermally and acoustically insulated. A damp proof membrane had to be applied, Floor joists and panels needs to be laid above the concrete floor. A wooden batton structure has to be constructed and screwed on the walls, New wiring has to be introduced, a new wall had to be built … Etc, etc, etc. The list was endless.

 When one looks at the state of my Garage, this was indeed going to be a monumental challenge. Even more so considering I have had no building experience whatsoever. ( Excluding my construction of the Empire state building out of Lego when I was 10).

We all have these grand schemes now and again but invariably, sanity takes over and you soon realise that perhaps they were not meant to be.

Well, seven months and a few cut and bruised fingers later and a much lighter bank balance, my insanity had remained intact throughout, and my Cinema was finally completed.

The following pictures represent a very brief pictorial history of the construction process…

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The before shot, showing concrete floor and brick walls.

 

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Two tier seating, note the raised floor for the rear seating.

 

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After much sweat and tears the plasterbords are up.

 

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The Finished article with a seven foot screen and mood lighting.

 

 

 

 


 

Beware of Fake 3D films

The last 12 months have seen the arrival of many 3d films. The leader of the gang so to speak was James Camerons Avatar. Its cutting edge 3D technology soon paid off as Avatar quickly became the most successful film of all time.

The downside to this was that Studio Executives quickly assumed that the 3D technology alone was responsible for the masses of cash the film had generated.

Unfortunately for filmmakers, the budgetary cost of making a 3D film is a lot greater than the equivalent 2D film. Indeed, the whole filmmaking process is a lot different. A 3D Film requires large cumbersome 3D cameras, the set design has to be different. The way characters are situated within the frame is different and the pacing of the editing is a lot slower as it takes a couple of seconds for the human brain to register the 3d.

In order to keep filmmaking costs to a minimum and at the same time maximising profits, the studios are shooting the films in 2d and then once completed, they are converted to a 3D format. A cheap solution for the cash hungry Studios. Not surprisingly, this process has been a bone of contention within industry experts who claim that the resulting effect is a shoddy third rate 3D, passed on as the genuine article. With ticket prices for 3D films in some Cinemas exceeding £13 per seat, this is tantamount to misrepresentation at best and fraud at worst.

Clash of the Titans is a good example. The film was almost complete when Avatar began smashing box office records. Straight away the studio performed a quick 3D conversion to cash in on the film. Slapped a 3D tag upon the title and released it upon the general public. And although the film had negative reviews, the 3D effects were singled out for particular criticism. Complaints ranged from the 3D highlighting how bad the special effects are to the flatness of the characters in some scenes, so much so that they looked like cardboard cut outs.

James Cameron, the director of Avatar, while not singling out any film moaned “You’ve got people quickly converting movies from 2D to 3D, which is not what we did. They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.”

With the price of 3D cinema tickets at record highs, the Cinema going public have a right to a full 3D experience.

 

 

Three Colours: Red (1994)

I first came across the great Polish Director Krzysztof Kieslowski a few years ago when purely by happenstance I stumbled across his feature Krótki film o milosci  (A short film about love ), Made in 1988, it is without doubt one of the most sensitive and powerful depictions of love ever committed to film and a masterpiece in contemporary filmmaking.

Unfortunately, outside of Poland the film had an extremely limited release and as a result a very limited audience. However the films that caterpulted Kieslowski to international stardom was his Three Colours Trilogy. Three Colours : Blue(Trois couleurs: Bleu) was released in 1993 followed by Three Colours: White (Trzy kolory: Bialy) in 1994. The final film in the trilogy, the Oscar nominated Three Colours: Red came out in the same year. Each film depicts a different facet of the human condition.

Red is my personal favourite of the three films and having recently revisited it on DVD I am still in awe of Kieslowski’s talent as a story teller. The film was Oscar nominated and won countless international film awards.

It is a multi-layered, densely plotted meditation on the nature of fate and love. In Red, love and fate are intertwined but complex notions, dictated as much by the whims of human beings as the invisible parallel associations that seems to pass us by. One can sense that the film is really an allegory, a reenactment of Prospero’s omnipresent gestures in The Tempest, yet it is more than its story appears. Red demands countless viewings, and in each viewing something new is discovered that weaves itself into the already immaculately plotted structure.

Although Red stands alone as a masterwork from Kieslowski, it’s best viewed as part of the trilogy. Elements of Blue and White are referenced in Red, which knowing viewers will no doubt enjoy.

Kieslowski intended to retire after this film, so in a way it is his artistic testament. He died a couple of years later and though it is said that he intended to return to directing, destiny decided that this was indeed his last film. A last film any director would be proud of!

Post Cold War Polish cinema had been stagnating somewhat with a lot of Polish talent, such as Cinematographer Janusz Kamiński and Directors Agnieszka Holland and Roman Polanski, graduates from the world famous Lodz Film School, choosing to work in Hollywood. Kieslowski, himself a former Lodz student, chose to stay in Poland and was a beacon for Film excellence. He will without a shadow of a doubt, take his place alongside Steven Spielberg and Akira Kurasawa as one of the truly great filmmakers the world has ever seen.

Avatar Terminates all opposition in Camerons Titanic epic

Ten years in the making and boasting a budget comparable to the gross domestic Product of a medium sized South American Country, James Cameron’s Avatar is finally upon us. The Celebrated Director had shown a select few fifteen minutes of Computer generated footage from the film six months ago which had Fan boys on the various film forums literally ejaculating with excitement.

If you believed the hype, the film would usher in a new revolution in CGI technology and blurr the line between what is real and what is Computer generated. At a cost of 300 million pounds, Cameron and his Effects team have spared no expense in inventing new 3D cameras and software programs to make the CGI as realistic as possible.

The film centres on a race of beings known as the Navi who inhabit the planet Pandora. They are a peace loving race who are at one with nature. To such an extent in fact that one can be forgiven for thinking that they spend their days singing ‘come by yar my lord’ to each other whilst hugging trees.

Earths interest in Pandora stems from its own energy crises and the solution coming in the form of an extremely rare mineral called Unobtainium ( Come on James, you could have given it a more original name!). Unfortunatley, Pandora is the sole location of Unobtainium and to make life a bit easier for the screenwriters, it lies directly beneath the Navi village.

The humans have set up a base on Pandora but do not fancy carrying out a bit of ethnic cleansing and as a result have instigated the Avatar program. This involves the planting of human consciousness inside the minds of home grown Navi bodies. The plan being to infiltrate the Navi, gain their trust and negotiate a resettlement.

Sigourney weaver, in her full headmistress mode, plays the chief Scientist, but the film really belongs to rising star Sam Worthington. He plays paraplegic ex marine Jake Sully who is hired by the military to gain the trust of the Navi in the hope of providing valuable intelligence in the event that the negotiations fail and a military solution is called upon. However, the more interaction he has with the Navi, the stronger the bond he forms with them and not surprisingly he begins to question his mission and his romantic entanglement with one of Navi further helps to cement his views.

This then is a battle between the scientists and the Military for and against the use of force. The military is led by the chief bad guy Colonel Miles Quaritch played by the excellent Stephen Lang, replete with a menacing facial scar. (Any self respecting Hollywood baddie these days is just not evil enough unless he possesses a facial scar the size of the grand canyon).

The six million dollar question is, is the film any good? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding yes. To everyones relief, James Cameron has created an epic that more than justifies the hype.

The planet Pandora with its exotic blend of trees and vegetation and a menagerie of different life forms is as beautiful and real as anything on earth. A mean feat considering it was all created inside the memory of a computer. The Navi themselves are blue 10 foot tall humanoid creatures with sharp pointy ears and long tails, all created using computer animation, yet they are living breathing creatures. Every facial mannerism and expressions have been catered for and in glorious 3D there realism is further enhanced.

To James Camerons credit he hasn’t allowed the technology or effects to overwhelm the film. A situation a lot of people were dreading. Instead, the Computer generated effects and action sequences are subservient to the flow of the story and only adds to the strength of the viewing experience.

Zoe Saldana ( Star Trek) is excellent as Jakes love interest, A Navi princess named Neytiri, while Giovanni Ribisi and Michelle Rodriguez are good in strong supporting roles.

Mention must also go to Director of Photography Mauro Fiore and Film Composer James Horner. The film is as beautifully shot as any I have ever seen in a long time and Horners music to is perhaps not as good as his earlier work, but a slightly off par Horner is still as good as most composers working in Hollywood today. Editing, sound, art direction are all excellent too ( as expected from a Cameron film ).

The story has been criticised by some people for being the weak link in the film. I would most heartily disagree. The story can be enjoyed on different levels. Some may prefer the romantic subplot, others may just sit back and enjoy the exhilarating action sequences while the more demanding viewers, will no doubt find some message about the potential environmental harm we are doing to our own planet allied with a critique of the forced relocation of indigenous peoples throughout our own history.

My advice would be to watch the film in the cinema, put on those 3D goggles and just enjoy an immensely enjoyable rollercoaster ride.


 

Avatar – First Review

“I am king of the world” proclaimed  director James Cameron as he picked up the best picture Oscar for for Titanic.

After a string of the hugely successful films namely Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2 and True Lies, Titanic was the film that ( according to most) would knock James Cameron back down to earth. At a cost of $200 million it was the most expensive film ever made and was also dogged by behind the scenes infighting with the studio almost shutting the project down.

Indeed, the studio was so sure they had a huge expensive dud on their hands that rather than abandon the film James Cameron agreed to forgo his usual up front fee in favour of a percentage share of the profits. The studio being convinced of course that the film would make no money.

How wrong the studio was. After early negative word of mouth, Titanic quickly became the most successful film of all time and garnered 10 Oscars in the process. With a percentage profit share Cameron was now as wealthy as anyone in Hollywood and the world was his oyster as far as his next film was concerned.

Eleven years later and finally his latest film is about to be released. Avatar is by far his most ambitious project and at a cost of $300 million dollars is currently the most expensive film in film history. The Sci Fi spectacular promises CGI that  blurs the line between whats real and whats not. Cameron has said that he only began working on the film when he felt that the CGI technology was advanced enough to match his vision of what the film should be like.

Over the past few months, images and clips had surfaced on the internet which had geeky fanboys literally ejaculating with excitement. Some say the film will be as successfull as Titanic, others say that its viewing will be akin to a Pseudo religious experience.

As the much anticipated release date draws ever close, the film site Gawker.com has posted the first review of the finished film. Apparantly the reviewer is reffered to as a real live entertainment worker and this is his report.

 “I watch a lot of movies, and am especially obsessed with watching horrible films with inflated budgets.  I was delighted to find that Avatar didn’t disappoint in the absolutely horrible fetishizing of azure humanoids that James Cameron has obviously been drawing on the back covers of his notebooks since middle school and secretly getting off to in the gym locker room. The new technology they’ve been using to eliminate the headaches and sickness conducive to old 3D tech has not been used properly in the action scenes throughout Avatar.  The problem is with cutting in between 3D focal points and perspective – the mind cannot adjust to it without a buffer – thus, Avatar is literally vomit inducing. 

But the movie itself, the story/acting/tone are alienating and weird.  Of course there are very beautiful moments, with great editing/sound/art direction, but overall it’s a horrible piece of shit.  The entirety of the Hollywood marketing machine is behind it, however, so it’s going to make a boatload (eh I could slip a Titanic ref. whatever) of money.”

I really hope that this guy is wrong or that the Review is a fake. If you cant wait for the Release date then below is the trailer.